Sara Duterte’s cousin endorses Kiko Pangilinan, says track record matters over name

April 11, 2022

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Sunday received the backing of Sara Duterte’s first cousin Nuelle Duterte, saying Pangilinan has the track record to continue the good policies that his running-mate Leni Robredo has done at the Office of the Vice President.

In a virtual meeting of Filipino-Americans, Nuelle lauded Pangilinan for his agriculture initiative, describing the latter’s “Hello Pagkain, Goodbye Gutom” battle cry as relevant to Mindanao. (

“I think [the Pangilinan’s campaign battle cry] would be really relevant especially in Mindanao, not just Davao, because there’s a lot of farmlands, a lot of agricultural lands there. In that sense, his advocacies and his work are relevant to the people of Mindanao,” Nuelle said.

Mindanao remains to be the top producer of banana in the country. In 2021, 84% of the country’s banana production came from the island, with Davao Region as the top contributor at 2.40 million metric tons.

But despite Mindanao’s rich agricultural produce, it still has the largest share of the country’s poor population, accounting for 40.4% in 2021, according to the Asian Development Bank. In Davao Region, around 195,000 families are poor.

A psychiatrist by profession, Nuelle previously said that Sara is not competent to serve as president. Her assessment remains the same now when Sara opted to run for vice-president in the 2022 national elections.

Nuelle’s assessment is rooted in her personal experience, political observations, and her study of the political Dutertes’ characters from afar.

“[They have] a sense of entitlement when it comes to public office. Not just three or four of them. It’s a familial sense of entitlement to being in government and having positions in government,” Nuelle said of Rodrigo, Sara, Pulong, and Baste.

“It can be a bad thing because it is the only career path that they look at as possible for them. And that they are not able to explore other areas in their lives,” she added.

The political Dutertes have lorded Davao City for over two decades with the older Rodrigo being elected six times until he ran for president in 2016. Sara took over the city from 2010 to 2013, and from 2016 until the present. Pulong is running for re-election as Davao congressman. Baste is set to replace Sara as Davao City mayor for the 2022 term. 

For Nuelle, this “monopolization of power” in Davao City has led to the moral decay of Davaoeños, forcing them to believe that the Dutertes are the answer to the country’s problems.

“The impact on Davao City is that they have a particularly narrow view of the world. If it is not obvious yet, based on the president’s statements and policies, his view of leadership is very narrow and very limited,” she said.

“He only has certain things he follows. He’s not able to think outside of his own box. So, we see that being followed by his children in Davao City. There are really no attempts to veer away from that,” Nuelle said.

“Maybe a little bit in terms of increasing social programs in Davao City since Sara Duterte became mayor. But otherwise, everything is mostly the same. It limits Davao and if you expand it in national coverage, it limits the potential of the Philippines if the country remains to be under their leadership,” she added.

This is where Pangilinan’s track record comes in to match the popularity that Sara is riding on because of her surname, Nuelle said.

“It’s important to look at the plans of candidates, to look at not only their work history and their educational history. But to look at what they want to do, what they want to give, what they want to advocate. And in terms of that, it has to be concrete and properly laid out,” she said.

“That’s the beauty of Team Tropa (Robredo-Pangilinan), particularly Senator Kiko. They have very concrete, specific plans [for the country],” Nuelle added. ###

CAPTION: In a virtual meeting of Filipino-Americans, Nuelle Duterte (top right) lauded vice-presidential candidate Kiko Pangilinan for his agriculture initiative, describing his “Hello Pagkain, Goodbye Gutom” battle cry as relevant to Mindanao. In a virtual meeting of Filipino-Americans, Nuelle lauded Pangilinan for his agriculture initiative, describing the latter’s “Hello Pagkain, Goodbye Gutom” battle cry as relevant to Mindanao. Author Ninotchka Rosca (top left) and Fil-Am leader Francis Miranda welcomed Pangilinan to the meeting Sunday (Philippine time).